Ohio Gov. John Kasich appears regularly on Sunday morning talk shows to urge political leaders to work together to fix problems. But back home in Ohio he isn’t talking with his fellow elected leaders, some say.
Auditor Dave Yost, Treasurer Josh Mandel and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor — all Republicans like Kasich — report that they haven’t talked with the governor in more than a year. Secretary of State Jon Husted last spoke with Kasich in February, a Husted spokesman said.
“Look I live on my phone and the calls I make, aside from my close personal friends, the calls I make are impactful,” Kasich said this week. “I don’t really spend a lot of time with chit-chatting. If any of those individuals want to talk to me, I’m more than glad to talk to them.”
He noted that he has talked with legislative leaders on particular issues.
“I honestly couldn’t tell you (the last time I spoke with Kasich.) I don’t think I’ve seen him in a year,” said Yost who is running for attorney general against Democrat Steve Dettelbach. “The last substantive conversation we had was years ago, maybe 2014 or ‘15. I’ve said ‘hello governor’ a couple of times.”
When asked if he would endorse a candidate for attorney general, Kasich said “I don’t know. We haven’t talked about it.”
In January, Taylor told Clermont County Republicans that she hadn’t spoken to Kasich in a year. Kasich had endorsed Taylor for governor in the GOP primary.
Her spokesman Michael Duchesne said the two Republicans haven’t spoken in 2018, other than greetings when they were in the same meetings.
Long-time political journalist and author Jim Heath said he isn’t surprised, noting that Taylor opposed Kasich on Medicaid expansion, Yost challenged him on auditing JobsOhio and Mandel endorsed Marco Rubio for president over Kasich. “There are a lot of personal wounds that happened after they came into office together in 2010,” Heath said.
The governor’s staff communicates with staff in the other statewide offices.
Kasich has spoken with Attorney General Mike DeWine since DeWine won the GOP nomination for governor in May, a DeWine spokesman said. But Kasich made it clear that his endorsement wasn’t an automatic slam dunk for DeWine.
In mid-May, Kasich told reporters that he wanted to hear more from DeWine about his plans for Medicaid expansion and JobsOhio.
Kasich later said he would back DeWine and DeWine’s aides said the two have talked since the May primary.
In recent years, Kasich has made the rounds on national political talk shows, saying elected leaders need to come together and fix tough problems.
“My advice to Republicans is, hey, be your own person, be your own man or woman. Talk to people about health care, talk to people about bringing the country together,” Kasich advised on Hard Ball with Chris Matthews earlier this month.
On Meet the Press in December 2017, he said: “what I’m trying to do is lead by what’s happening in my state which is, you know, we’re up jobs, we’ve got money in the bank, we’re taking — we’re making sure people at the bottom get help and they’re not ignored. So we have a policy here. We’ve got a problem, we’re going to go and fix it. We dealt with race. We’re now beginning to deal with the problem of gun violence. We don’t turn, we don’t put our heads in the sand. We look at problems and we look for positive solutions. And that’s my message to the national party.”